Greene County planning major new park along Little Miami River

Site would have launch point for canoes and kayaks, plus fishing and archery.

BELLBROOK — A joint venture between Greene County Parks and Trails and the Bellbrook/Sugarcreek Township Park District would create a new 50-acre park along the Little Miami River for canoeing, hiking and archery in Bellbrook.

The park districts submitted a grant request for $750,000 in the state budget that, if approved, would be used to develop a new park on 50 acres off of Ohio 725 near the Little Miami River. The 50 acres between Penewit Road and River Edge Circle include three parcels, two owned by Bellbrook/Sugarcreek Parks and one owned by the county.

One of the county department’s goals with the park is to give people better access to the river from public property.

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“We didn’t have much of a footprint (in Bellbrook),” said Greene County Parks Director Jon Dobney. “We had this property and we weren’t doing anything with it. As a county-wide agency, we want to be relevant in each community, whether it be a township or a village or a city. It’s directly in our calling, we’re going to develop a park and develop one in an under-utilized area.”

Preliminary plans for the new park include a canoe launching spot, a shelter house, hiking trails and an archery range. The park would also open 3,500 linear feet of the river for public access for water sports and fishing.

Greene County, which manages 62 miles of paved trails across the county, saw a huge spike in usage of its parks during the pandemic. Nearby Constitution Park in Spring Valley, which the county manages, is still overwhelmed, Dobney said. The new park would give people more options and more places to launch their boats, potentially alleviating congestion in other places.

“The last two years has been crazy,” Dobney said, adding that the county hasn’t yet seen a drop-off in park usage since the pandemic has subsided.

“When people had nowhere else to go, they came out. Folks that haven’t traditionally used parks, they came and found out ‘wow this is really cool,’ and kept coming back.”

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